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    Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Wildcats Facebook Page
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    The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team’s quest for a ninth national title, and its continued pursuit of perfection, is coming to the KFC Yum! Center. Meanwhile the Wildcats’ archrival, the University of Louisville men’s hoops team, is headed West.

    As expected UK received the No. 1 overall seed (and No. 1 in the Midwest Region) in the NCAA Tournament, per pairings released Sunday evening, and will play its first two games - barring an upset of epic proportions - on UofL’s home court. The undefeated and top-ranked Wildcats (34-0) will open tourney play against the winner between No. 16 seeds Hampton and Manhattan, who will meet Tuesday night in the First Four, at approximately 9:40 p.m. Thursday night in a second-round game. Manhattan is coached by former UK player, and former UofL assistant, Steve Masiello. Before the games begin, though, the Wildcats will have an open practice at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Yum! Center. 

    Meanwhile the Cardinals (24-8), who are No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25, received a No. 4 seed in the East Region and will play UC Irvine at 4:10 p.m. Friday afternoon (the game will be televised on TBS).

    When - not if - Kentucky wins its first game it will play the winner between eighth-seeded Cincinnati (22-10) and ninth-seeded Purdue (21-12) on Saturday. The Bearcats and Boilermakers will play at 7:10 p.m. Thursday night in the third game of the day at the Yum! Center.

    Thursday will start with a pair of South Region games. In the opener third-seeded Iowa State (25-8), which is coming off an improbable run to the Big 12 Conference Tournament title, will meet No. 14 seed UAB (19-15) in a second-round game at 12:40 p.m. After that sixth-seeded SMU (27-6) will play No. 11 seed UCLA (20-13) at approximately 3:10 p.m.

    Surprisingly there were still a limited number of tickets available for second- and third-games games early Monday morning. They are available for purchase at or here

    ​The next day the Cards, who are coming off their 70-60 loss to North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals, will face the wonderfully-nicknamed Anteaters (21-12).

    "We had been to five straight conference championship games over the last five years," UofL coach Rick Pitino said. "While we are disappointed that we did not advance in the ACC Tournament, the silver lining is that we had time to practice and work on a few different things. We feel that we're playing our best basketball of the season and are looking forward to a great tournament." 

    UC Irvine, which won the Big West Conference Tournament, features the tallest player in college basketball in 7-foot-6 sophomore center Mamadou Ndiaye, who averages 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

    Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Wildcats Facebook Page

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